Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez took an important step forward today in modernizing how the government governs fishing by proposing amendments to the nation's primary fisheries management law and laying out specific commitments to management approaches that align fishermen's economic interests with conservation goals. One of these approaches is to give fishermen ownership shares in the stock of the fish they target, called dedicated access privileges (DAPs) in fishery law terms. The proposed amendments to the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act explicitly authorize doubling the existing number of these programs.
"Environmental Defense applauds the Administration's efforts to protect people and fish by doubling the existing number of dedicated access privilege programs," said Environmental Defense president Fred Krupp. "The status quo is not working, and innovative fishery management tools that align economic and environmental incentives are needed to save our failing fisheries and keep fishermen in business."
The proposed amendments establish provisions to ensure that the implementation of DAPs – catch shares – respects the social, biological and economic conditions unique to each fishing community and fish stock. Further, the Secretary committed his agency
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